Nicole Regnier: A Colombian Athlete that Follows Falcao’s Lead
Nicole Regnier: A Colombian Athlete that Follows Falcao’s Lead
Nicole Regnier has become one of the main stars of Colombian female soccer and a viral phenomenon because of her active presence in social networks, where she shares images of her life and sports activity. Miss Regnier is only 20 years old and she already plays with Atletico de Madrid’s female team, where her much admired Falcao used to play. Nicole took her time with PanamericanWorld to give details about her life and, of course, she opened her heart and showed her feelings as she wasn’t invited to participate in the Female World Cup to take place in Canada, which, she says, hurts on a daily basis.
Her First Steps along with her Idol
There were no soccer players in my family; in fact, some of my father’s relatives have raced cars and motorcycles. When I was 6 years old my mother and I moved to Italy and I think that it was there where I fell in love with soccer, as Italian people play it with passion. Inzaghi was my first idol and I admired him throughout my childhood. He was always scoring goals in San Siro, so I admired him and wanted to be as good as him.
Soccer among Men
When I was 6 years old, I was used to playing with other children in the park. I was a hyperactive girl, so my mother used to send me to the park for me to unleash my energy. At the age of 9 we returned to Colombia and I started training with the male team at school. I loved playing with them because they treated me just as any other member of the team.
I was 13 years old and my father told me: “My daughter, if you want to keep on playing soccer, you have to join a female team, since you can’t spend your lifetime playing with men”. At that age boys grow bigger and stronger, there is a visible difference. I wanted to play with men, I had my team and I was happy with them.
Atlas, her Female Team
In my first game with the League I scored several goals, I was way up in the scorers ranking and it was a surprise: I was the surprise of the tournament. Nobody knew who I was. As a result of that performance, I was invited to join Valle team. I was 13 years old and that was the first time I saw my idols: Carmen Rodallega, Laura Cosme, Ingrid Vidal… they had played in World Cups, Olympic Games and I had barely won a school tournament.
There were lots of candidates and I was afraid of not being chosen, since I was the youngest one. My mother used to say that I had to train hard and learn from the experience of other players. They finally handpicked 22 players and I was included in that group… spending my time with them and traveling was a great opportunity. I learned a lot, copied positive elements and we are good friends.
Her Career in Colombia’s National Team
I spent five years playing with Valle and at the age of 15 I was summoned to join the Colombian team and attend the under-17 South American Games, where we did it very well. I scored 2 goals: the winning goal against Venezuela, which practically gave us the qualification for the Azerbaijan World Cup. I played my first World Cup and it was a beautiful experience with the team. I later participated in the under-20 South American Games.
Not to Atletico, College is First
I came to Madrid in 2013, I passed some tests and the results were positive. I liked the club, but I wasn’t done with college. My father told me: “The only condition for you to leave is to obtain you bachelor’s degree”. I agreed and took an intensive course. I was already with the Atleti for the next pre-season, my dream came true and I’m very happy living here.
A Lifetime Decision
There was a hard decision to be made because, thanks God, I had several options of scholarships in the Unites States and that was what my father wanted: me signing with a US university and training there. Then the Atleti option came up and I told him “Dad, I’m sorry, but I dream about playing in Europe, so with or without your permission I’ll fly to Spain and play there”. Although we have to listen to our parents, I had already made up my mind and playing in Europe was my dream. People say that we have to follow our heart and it was the right choice for me in this case.
In a Voice Choked with Emotion: The Absence in the World Cup
It’s an immense pain, I cry every time they play, I’ve cried during the friendly games, and I suffer it because I love this. I’m very sad because I won’t be there. I’ve spent five years playing with the national team and I’ve always dreamed about participating in a World Cup. I know I’m young, but it means nothing. The national team is not a matter of age, but skills.
I believe I’m in my finest soccer moment, the trainings are very intense here and the rhythm in games is higher than Colombia’s. Everything is stronger, more physical, in Europe. Although I don’t understand that decision, I have to respect it, and I’ll be here when they need me.
The Biggest Lie
Many people think that I haven’t been chosen to participate in the Canada World Cup because Atlético de Madrid does not let me go, and that’s not true. It’s important to tell them that I wasn’t called in because they don’t want me, not because the Club stops me from doing it or because I don’t want to go. That’s the biggest lie ever, I will always be ready to wear the uniform and do my best, but they currently think that there are better soccer players in Colombia and I have to accept it.
I believe Cholo is the greatest coach ever, right behind Pekerman, they are very close. Pekerman has done a lot for the team; he changed the mentality of the players and won my admiration and affection during the World Cup. Since the very beginning I saw what Simeone is, his thinking and character, basically what this club stands for. The effort is not negotiated, that’s one of the club’s mottos, to humbly work and do your best in every game.
Two Pieces of Advice
After my first or second game, the coach sat down with me and told me: “Nicole, I’m going to give you a piece of advice; this is not about individual actions, but the whole team. When you learn it you’ll play in my team, not before.”
The second thing was: “the fans forgive everything, bad games or results, failed passes, but they won’t ever forgive you if you don’t go 100 percent on the field and push yourself in every game. Even if you cannot reach the ball and it’s going out of the line, throw yourself; make them see that you almost killed yourself trying to reach that ball. Perhaps you think that you won’t jump high enough to head the ball, but just do it and the people will applaud it.”
Falcao: the Top Idol
It’s a privilege. I think that what Falcao did in this Club was amazing; I believe he’s the top idol, beyond Forlán, Agüero... Atlético won’t ever forget what Falcao did in this club. It’s very nice to see how people remember a Colombian professional, such a special person as Falcao, with that affection and admiration. This is his home and I’m happy to play in the club where he did, because not everybody does what he did, the merit is huge. People love him here and it’s a pleasure for me to play where Falcao played.